The Top 10 Most Popular Hip Hop Singles Of 2011
It’s been quite a year in Hip Hop. This was definitely the year of the freestyle (we say that every year), the year of the mixtape (yeah, we say that too), and the year of the album pushback (yup, that again). Everything in Hip Hop is cyclical, but each time the same thing re-emerges, we’re introduced to a tweaked formula from the last time around. In 2011, we witnessed the unification of two Hip Hop powerhouses (Jay-Z and Kanye West on Watch The Throne), we were met with an album from a famed rapper that half the public loved and the other half hated (Drake’s Take Care), and we also heard a few cuts off an album that we’re now being told may never happen (Dr. Dre’s Detox). There was a lot more going on, and you’ll see most of it on this list. As we check out the ten songs that our HipHopDX readers listened to the most, pay attention to the names. They’re all familiar and all indicative of the top spots in Hip Hop. Well, with the exception of Maroon 5 of course.
1. Jay-Z and Kanye West – Otis
Having this song top the singles for 2011 on HipHopDX right before New Year’s Eve is befitting. After all, “Otis” was all about celebration. Jay and Kanye took an Otis Redding sample to new heights and paired it with a video, where they strip down a Maybach and do donuts in it in front of an American flag. How’s that for a party? Despite the fact that “H.A.M.” (look below) was our first real glimpse into the Watch the Throne project, it was “Otis” that really had the people excited about what Jay-Z and Kanye West collectively had coming.
2. Jay-Z and Kanye West – H.A.M.
Lex Luger brought some out-of-the-box production for Jay and Ye on this one. The song was arguably bigger than the sum of its parts, and succeeded largely based upon curiosity. People had no idea what to expect after this song dropped. However, throw that badboy on at the club and everyone goes “H.A.M. aka “hard as a muthaf**ker.”
3. Drake – Marvin’s Room
How many times this year have you read “I’m just sayin, you could do better” on social networking sites? This song sparked the “Drake is emo” movement, crafting a song about being drunk and calling his ex-girlfriend. The sobfest carried over into other versions and freestyles. We vote for Jojo’s version as the best one.
4. Young Jeezy featuring Lil Wayne – Ballin
Many moons ago, people thought this track right here was the first look into Young Jeezy’s Thug Motivation 103, as he and Lil Wayne stomped all over this track chanting that “ballin” mantra. It never did make it to the album, after it was pushed back so many times. That doesn’t take away from its street anthemic value.
5. Dr. Dre featuring Eminem and Skylar Grey – I Need a Doctor
When this song hit the ground, it entered a marathon. Detox was 2010’s big tease, but by 2011, it was really starting to look like a reality. Producer Alex Da Kid introduced his dark songstress Skylar Grey to the word, and her breathy vocals make this track so haunting, as Eminem is literally begging Dr. Dre to come back to music. Sorry, Em.
6. Maroon 5 featuring Mac Miller and Christina Aguilera – Moves Like Jagger Remix
“Moves Like Jagger” sans Mac Miller was one of 2011’s big deal Pop anthems. However, getting Mac Miller on the remix shoved this cut into the faces of Hip Hop fans, and guess what? They liked it. It also contributed largely to Mac Miller’s crossover appeal. That’s the reason why your little sister is bumping Blue Slide Park. So, Mac Mill has moves like Jagger too?
7. Game featuring Lil Wayne – RED Nation
Game’s The R.E.D. Album had quite a few high points. This song, however, was one of the highest. Taking the “Zombie Nation” techno chants and dropping Lil Wayne in the hook beckoning everyone to “Blood the fuck up” made “RED Nation” the kind of song to get violent to. After all, angry music makes everyone see “red.”
8. Eminem – G.O.A.T. (Jay-Z and Kanye West Diss)
This track seemed like it came out of nowhere, and it did. It was pretty old, and for whatever reason, it circulated this past year. Even Eminem himself spoke on the song, stating it was old and just a big venting session about not getting the respect he deserved. That all changed this year, and thankfully nothing became of this quasi-war between three rap stalwarts.
9. Lupe Fiasco featuring Skylar Grey – Words I Never Said
Another win for Skylar Grey, as she added to the intensity of this Lupe Fiasco track. Lupe spent a good long while frustrated with his label, his career, and his music. However, this song off Lasers added to the mainstream value of the project as a whole and brought Lupe right to the top of the charts. Sometimes the words never said go a long way.
10. Dr. Dre featuring Eminem – Die Hard
Yet another floaty in the Detox pool, “Die Hard” paired Dre with Em again on this third look into the album that never was. By the time this track hit, Dre fans were really convinced that Detox was going to happen and Eminem was going to play a huge role in it. Dre is pretty lucky. His presence on this 2011 list shows just how many people still care about his music.